In the age of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and content marketing, keywords have played a huge role in the discoverability and user intent. Recently though, the sentiment that keywords no longer matter thanks to new search algorithms has started to pop up in a number of blog posts & articles. I’d like to caution you against believing in such ideas however, because anyone who doesn’t understand placing keywords in content, titles, meta descriptions, and as anchor text, is seriously missing the most essential piece of SEO.
In order to create successful content, you need to utilize keyword syntax. In other words, how do users search for something they want? If a homeowner is looking for furniture for their porch, will they search “all weather patio furniture” or “outdoor sofa”? Keywords do matter, and so does the manner in which you utilize them on each and every webpage.
When Google or search engines crawl webpages for indexing, they use what’s called latent semantic indexing. As the bots review the content on webpages, the common words and phrases are collated and identified as the keywords for the page. Search engines will then use these keywords when ranking a site in SERPs. Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) adds another level in the keyword indexing process. LSI looks for synonyms and other words that relate to the title of your webpage. For example, if the title of your page was “Garden Tools”, the search engines would expect to find related words in the page content as well, i.e. “hoses”, “shovels”, “lawn mowers”, “rake” and “pruning shears”.
In order to rank successful in SERPs, you must design every webpage around a small set of relevant keywords. For instance, if you own a plant nursery that also sells patio furniture, house decorations, and hoses & garden tools, you can’t stuff every possible keyword relating to these themes on the home page and expect to rank well in search engines. The key is to structure your site in such a way that every important page acts as a search magnet on its own. Instead of having one page that lists every type of item you sell, create a single page for each type of item. For instance, this same plant nursery listed above could create a page for patio furniture, a page for hoses, a page for gardening tools, a page for indoor plants, a page for outdoor plants, etc. When all of these pages are combined into one company website, you now have a strong, top ranking marketing tool.
Before you create any webpage, you should perform some extensive keyword research to find out how users search for the products and services you sell. Keywords will help you create content that matches users’ intent. Essentially, you need to understand the users and how they go about searching for your content. Each keyword is extremely critical, so it helps to have a good understanding of SEO before you choose which ones to utilize. The best choice for keywords may not be completely obvious. In reality, when performing keyword research, you will be presented with keywords that range in popularity. To the inexperienced individual dabbling in SEO, the most popular words clearly seem like the ones to use. On the other hand, an expert SEO Consultant may choose less popular keywords so that your website has less online competition.
When it comes to local online marketing, keywords play a huge role in driving local traffic to your site. If you are a traditional “brick and mortar” company that doesn’t sell actual products or service on your website, like our Chimney Sweep clients for example, you are completely dependent on local customers who need your expertise. This is where a website that has utilized local SEO marketing & geographical keywords will shine above the rest. If properly set up, a company website that features geographical keywords, towns & cities, and other localized phrases or idioms can increase foot traffic, exposure, business, and revenue.
There are a few important things to note. Keyword frequency or density is important. Keyword frequency is about letting search engines and users know what your pages are about. Using keywords in titles, throughout your content, and in meta descriptions and even on image tags, will produce a clear picture on what you are trying to deliver. Also, remember to use keywords users are expecting to see. This will help keep your content readable, which is extremely important and highly undervalued most of the time. People who visit a webpage rarely read every word. Instead they scan through the text, looking for… you guessed it, keywords. Therefore it’s important to utilize the same keywords that brought them to your page in the first place.